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Palm Pre Plus review

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Summary

Our Score:

7

User Score:

The original Palm Pre was a device overflowing with potential thanks to its swish touch interface and cute pebble-shaped design, but in the end it fell slightly short of the mark. Now Palm is hoping to right most of the original's wrongs with an update, quite simply called the Palm Pre Plus. Packing twice the internal storage and RAM of its predecessor and with a slightly tweaked design, its improvements are subtle but it could still be enough to make this a viable alternative to all those yPhones and Cyborg phones you keep hearing about.

So when we said the design is similar, we really meant it. Externally, the only difference between the Pre Plus and the Pre is the removal of the silver dot that sat below the screen of the original and the use of a matt black back plate instead of glossy black.

The silver dot was somewhat superfluous anyway as it wasn't actually a physical button but a touch sensitive one. So on the Plus, Palm has simply put a thin horizontal strip of light in its place, which disappears into the blackness of the body when not activated. Tapping the strip simply makes it glow while swiping left and right causes light to flow from one side to another, and swiping up or down makes the light spread out- or inwards. It's all very pretty. It also serves a practical purpose as tapping it switches you between the desktop and an open app, swiping left and right moves you back and forth in documents and menus, and swiping up and down opens and closes the menu.

As for that matt back plate, it's actually the same matt back plate as used by the TouchStone wireless charger, which was available for the original. This £45 optional extra basically provided you with this backplate (into which is embedded some antennae and electrical contacts) and a base station. Put the packplate on the phone and place the phone on the base station and it will wirelessly charge your phone. It's arguably something of a gimmick, but it's pretty darned convenient as well and the matt back plate looks better than the basic glossy one.

So Palm has added this back plate as standard to the Palm Pre Plus. However, it doesn't include the wireless base station, making it somewhat redundant aside from its aesthetic benefits.

Other changes include an increase in RAM from 256MB to 512MB, which should improve performance and increase multi-tasking potential. Internal storage has also doubled from 8GB to 16GB, though you still don't get a microSD slot or any other form of expandable storage.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Runadumb

July 6, 2010, 11:45 am

I have only briefly played with a Pre but I have a soft spot for it. Whenever it was first announced it blew me away but the long delays on the uk release, high prices and single carrier sunk it before it even had a chance. By all rights we should be on to a much improved version 2 right now which can hold it's own against the best phones out there. WebOs just needs a vehicle and I hope HP is putting the finishing touches to it as we speak.

Greg17b

July 6, 2010, 12:09 pm

Does it matter how you hold it?

Ed Churchward

July 6, 2010, 1:26 pm

I think the point you are missing, s that you never ever go into the launcher because to open an app you just start typing its name. the phone is best operated entirely by keyboard. I have had my Pre since launch day and lobe it. The best mobile OS by far, such a shame the hardware is not up to today's phones but I hope HP can change that and more Apps come on board.

otispunkmeyer86

July 6, 2010, 2:32 pm

i have a soft spot for the pre too, however the ones i had a go with in the O2 store just didnt paint a good picture. 2 of them failed to work at all and the one remaining one that would respond to my inputs was super slow before that too eventually stopped responding. build quality wasnt all that either. it was a poor show.... who's gonna buy a phone like that after the ones on display after only a few days have been brought to their knees?





same business with the new Dell streak... not only is it faffan huge, i turned it on to be greeted by a error message that some serive couldnt run and it promptly shut down. all the while the iphones on the iphone section are working beautifully without a hitch.





either apple really do deserve credit for a great piece of complete engineering or the others need to step up their game...or O2 need to take more care and pride in their non-apple displays.

DrDark

July 6, 2010, 2:55 pm

1- I haven't read the article properly yet, but the one on Play for £250 is a regular Pre not the Plus. So, er, where /did/ you get this?


2- Was "yPhone" intentional?


3- I've always liked the look of webOS and am still dying to try it out, but for all the reasons @Runadumb mentioned, I haven't yet.





Right, I'd better finish the article. See ya.

Keithe6e

July 6, 2010, 3:07 pm

@Greg: Does it matter how you hold it?





No, it will just drop the calls anyway.


http://forums.palmone.com/t5/w...

Ed

July 6, 2010, 4:48 pm

@Greg: ;)





@Ed Churchward: I think there are several points you're also missing. If it's such as good touchscreen OS, why should you need to use the keyboard?





@drdark: The supplier isn't where we got it from, it's the price we reference. Good spot on the Play price though, I'll update. Yes, yPhone and Cyborg were intentional.

HarryGlass

July 6, 2010, 6:39 pm

I think you should always look around for the best street price as well as shop prices when writing reviews. Otherwise the value score isn't relevant.





Has this seriously just been released in the UK? Pity on Palm and O2, it's such old news. Let's hope Palm can release new harder (and software) soon to give webOS a chance. It'd be a shme if it just went into printers and didn't get a chance to shine as a phone.





It's telling that you cannot see it properly in store, all O2 seem to care about is the iPhone (I guess it's a great cash cow). I didn't even see a Dell Streak when I was in there last week, let alone a non-working one. Apple do the whole consummer thing so well, other companies even if they had better products would fail until they get their customer focus sorted.

Ed Churchward

July 6, 2010, 7:56 pm

@Ed But it is not a touch screen OS and if that is the standpoint you are reviewing it from I think you are mistaken. All WebOs devices have a keyboard and they are an intrinsic part of how you operate the device, it is not like the iOS or Android in that respect. It would be better to put it up against a Blackberry (storm excluded, and we all know how that turned out)

AAM

July 6, 2010, 10:50 pm

@Ed Churchward You are mistaken. Palm OS is very much a screen based OS, probably more so than Android. The OS has a hook for an on-screen keyboard, which Palm has not implemented on the current, keyboard based phones. But there are a couple of hacks that use the hook and provide a full soft keyboard. What WebOS does not have-insofar as I know - is the spellchecker-based typing corrector that comes with iOS.


I would say that the WebOS is to some extent more screen based than even iOS. With iOS4 you need to press a physical button to bring background tasks to the foreground. With WebOS this is based on swipes on the screen - and much more naturally done too...

AAM

July 6, 2010, 10:58 pm

@Ed Churchward - Sorry, I should have read your first comment. My comment would have been slightly different otherwise. FYI and for Editors's info I am an ex iPhone 3GS user who moved onto an Ebay sourced Palm Pre - unlocked and now used on 3 with a lot less dropped calls. Despite the horrible keyboard I love the Pre, and having played with my iFanboy cousin's iPhone 4, I think WebOs still has the edge by far. Just a shame some key apps like SatNav are still missing and the battery life is so shameful...Oh and the squashy keys, and... Common HP, introduce some fresh hardware in there, please....

DrDark

July 7, 2010, 12:01 am

I was actually thinking about trying a Pixi, but...


@AAM how bad is the squashy keyboard?

Ed

July 7, 2010, 2:50 am

@drdark: review coming soon.

AAM

July 7, 2010, 5:43 am

@drdark I have used BlackBerries too, and the Pre keys are much worse. To be fair the Pre has to accommodate the keys in a much tighter space. I understand the plus has much better keys with much better feedback.

DrDark

July 7, 2010, 1:52 pm

@Ed: Ta :).





@AAM: Thanks for letting me know. I'd be harshly comparing it to an E71 though rather than a Blackberry. Might see if I can find one in an O2 shop, except I haven't walked into a highstreet mobile shop in years. Worried someone might come over with a salesman smile and I end up punching them in the face for trying to sell me an iPhone :).





P.S. I'm Joking!

Andy C

July 7, 2010, 2:29 pm

@drdark - Ive had a go with the Pixi Plus and my lasting impression of it was of how slow it was.





Even when I was navigating through the menus it struggled which is really worrying.





Ive tried the Pre Plus as well and although people find the keyboard a love or hate affair, I actually find it not bad. As for the rest of the Pre.... Got to say I love it :)

ffrankmccaffery

July 8, 2010, 3:52 am

Comparing the quality of the keys is really quite a personal thing. I myself have found the original Pre's keys more responsive.

seeralan

September 2, 2013, 8:57 am

Touch scree is not working in my mobile. I bought Palm pre plus mobile through e-bay on Nov 2012. Touch option is not working. some options automatically picking up & oscillation are there in the mobile. Any suggestion to resolve this please

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